Sloth and Superfood Salad

I'm home alone this week so I'm relishing the chance to be slovenly. My friends bitch about sloppy man companions but I have the opposite scenario. Dr G, typical engineer, thrives on order and tidiness. Like on Sunday when I sloshed my cup of tea and a tiny wee splash landed on the coaster, the poor fella tsk-tsked and dashed off to the kitchen to fetch a cloth, despite my howl of protest, It's a COASTER! Let it do its JOB! Because there is no way he could sit down and enjoy his cuppa with that disorderly droplet taunting him.

Usually when Dr G goes away I plonk my bag in the hallway when I walk in the door, shed clothes all over the house and take a casual approach to dishwashing and bedmaking then clean up in a frenzy an hour before he returns. I am trying to overcome a long history of sloth which I've written about before but can't find the link… during winter I'd iron just the collar and one sleeve of my school shirts then carefully hang them in the wardrobe, so when The Mothership opened the door for a spot check it'd look like I'd done my chores. You can imagine the pitch and boom of the famous schoolteacher voice when she finally rumbled that one!

Another thing I do when Dr G is away is eat lots of lazy salads. He likes healthy food but kind of gets a haunted Is This It look when it's only green things. Hehe. Last night included green lentils, feta and cherry tomatoes but I totally overdid the dijon mustard in the dressing. I couldn't stop snorting as I watched Scotland's Andy Murray go to five sets Wimbledon.

Tonight I made Leon's Superfood Salad which I'd had on my To Cook list for two years. The main ingredients: quinoa, broccoli, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, mint, parsley, peas, sunflower seeds and avocado that I neglected to buy so substituted chives which is no substitute really but it was the right colour. Oh and our old friend feta. Then lemon and olive oil dressing to tie the room together. So bloody tasty! Even better than the one I ate at the Leon in Carnaby Street years ago, no doubt coz I was about 300% less stingy with the feta.

Leon-superfood-salad
Serve with a glass of water
and an idiot-filled episode of Property Snakes And Ladders

Hoping to get back to some regular witterings; everything's been a little crazy and busy. Hope you guys are doing well out there?!

Freshly Baked

This weekend at Cow Poo Manor: a fresh delivery…

Fresh-manure 

… accompanied by a strong breeze which wafted right through our kitchen window. It was just the ticket for a hangover.

(ETA: The Pile is about 300 metres from the house – this was the first time I'd ever caught a whiff!)

I read an interview with Matt Lucas of Little Britain fame where he said, "If I never drank alcohol again I wouldn’t be in the least bothered… You could be spending your money on crisps, couldn’t you?"

I feel exactly the same about booze. And yet I ended up quietly rat-arsed on vodka when I met the lovely former House of Sport colleagues on Friday night (if any of you are out there, HELLO! It was rockin to see you). I got home just as Gareth arrived back from a thrash metal gig. He said he was hungry so I said, "I KNOW, chips and curry sauce!"

Next thing it's 2AM and we're watching Twenty20 Cricket highlights and I'm waxing lyrical about how good chips and curry sauce and fried rice are together; how I was a fool to mock Gareth for the combination all those years ago; how the nubbly texture of the rice balanced the slop of the sauce; how it was oh so wrong but somehow right… this is why I don't drink very often; it always leads to trouble.

Then Saturday 1PM; finally functional enough to make some vegetarian sausage rolls…

Sausage-rolls
Whoops, conjoined.

Tastes amazingly sausage-like but no animal parts here whatsoever… just nuts, oats, herbs, breadcrumbs, etc – recipe here at Green Gourmet Giraffe. Best sausage roll ever! Aside from Cornucopia Bakery in Braddon, Australian Capital Territory, OZ.

Next up: stumbling around garden, giddy at first sign of actual tomatoes.

Tomato
Currently the size of your pinky fingernail!

Also a sudden glut of roses out front that we have no idea how to look after, in the most daggy coral colour that reminds me of old ladies I have known. 

Rose 

Then we headed off to Carnoustie to see more good friends and their herd of children and dog. Went for a walk and got chased by frothing German Shepherds. Then curry – proper; not the drunken chip kind. Then almost falling asleep into a glass of wine.

Today, a kayaking party at the lake for two of the kids' birthday. I didn't partake because I cannot kayak for shit. I know you have to do it more than once to improve but I choose not to improve with ten eight-year-olds as witnesses!

Then we had a BBQ. Then the kidlets toasted marshmallows and when they ran out of marshmallows they just toasted anything they could find. So here we have a delightful fusion on a stick: strawberry, cherry tomato, cocktail pork sausage and a Terry's Chocolate Orange segment.

Kebab

Now salad and leftover snag roll then BED. Hope you all had a good weekend!

Moonwalk Tips

Here's a great idea. Let's gather up 10,000 of us and stay up until midnight, then take off our tops then parade around the streets of Edinburgh in our bras for 26.2 miles. C'mon! Where's your sense of adventure?

A year later the painful sweaty memories of the Moonwalk marathon have mellowed. Except for the part with the 13 miles of leg cramp and turbulent stomach. Apart from that it was a pure magic.

Since that fateful night lots people have arrived at this blog by Googling "Moonwalk training tips" or "Moonwalk training plan" and I thought, "Yeah! I should write about that!". But I've faffed around for so long the 2009 London walk has already been and the Edinburgh one is next weekend! Let's get on with it anyway and we can help Saturday's ladies and the Googlers of the Future.

I canvassed some of my teammates for their hot tips too, so it's not just whingy me hoping others might learn from my mistakes. And I know there's some fellow Moonwalk Veterans out there, so if you've got any wisdom to share please feel free to join in in the comments!

Moonwalk

Moonwalk Training Tips

  • Above all, start with good shoes! You're going to be doing a lot of walking so start with a fresh pair or ones that haven't already done many miles. Make sure they're not too tight because your feet can swell up.
  • Double skin socks can help prevent friction
  • Coat your feet with Vaseline before putting your socks – feels like you're walking on air and helps prevent blisters
  • DO YOUR STRETCHES from Day One! This is my biggest regret. Take ten minutes after every walk while your body is nice and warm to thoroughly stretch your legs. Follow the stretches in the Moonwalk booklet, do a leggy section of a yoga DVD or search YouTube for stretching routines.
  • Try to do other kinds of exercise as well so that you don't get totally fed up with walking. Spinning, weight training, yoga – just try and schedule it so you "save" your legs for the long walk on the weekend!
  • This goes against the Official Moonwalk Training Schedule but all my teammates agreed on this one: don't fret if you don't get all the short walks done, if you're someone who already does a lot of incidental walking (such as walking to work) or non-walky exercise. Just make sure you ALWAYS do the long ones.
  • Audio books help the time pass on longer walks. You could get through War and Peace quite easily. Sometimes I'd get so caught up in the story I'd be almost disappointed to finish. Almost.
  • Podcasts of radio shows are also great – the variety of segments stops you from getting bored. I liked The Bugle, This American Life and Jillian Michaels.
  • Start your long walks either early morning or late afternoon/evening (hooray for long summer nights) so you don't get too hot. You'll be walking at night for the real thing so may as well get used to cooler conditions.
  • Vary your walking routes so you don't fall asleep on your feet from boredom! If you do most of your walks in town, try a country jaunt or catch a train to a nearby town for a change of scenery.
  • MapMyWalk is a good free website to log your walks, map your routes and feel smug about how many miles you're racking up
  • Be careful not to overestimate how many calories you're burning with the training. Another of my biggest mistakes! I overcompensated at dinner time quite a bit 🙂
  • Don't eat too much junk on your longer walks. You will need to eat to keep your energy levels up but don't go too crazy with chocolate bars or jelly babies. Most us walked better when we ate "real" food – a banana, a handful of dried fruit, or a wholemeal peanut butter sandwich (easy to break chunks off as you walk)

Moonwalk bra decoration

  • Dying a plain white bra itself is a good base for decorating – it looks more interesting by default and you don't need as many dangly things to make it look jazzy.
  • Make sure you bra decorations don’t chafe.
Brahat_2

The week before

  • Preserve your energy – get plenty of sleep every night in the leadup.
  • Don't vary your routine too much – don't introduce anything new that might throw your body out of whack. For example, don't eat anything unusual. Check all expiry dates!
  • Eat as wholesomely as you can – avoid processed food, potentially dodgy takeaways…
  • Drink lots of water
  • Try on your Moonwalk outfit and make sure it's comfortable and that you look racktacular!

The night before

  • You do need to "carb up" a wee bit but try to keep your food plain and simple – nothing too spicy or exotic. You really don't want any stomach dodginess 🙂
  • Lay out all your Moonwalk outfit and make sure everything's in its place
  • Pack your Moonwalk gear – make sure you've not got too much stuff to carry because it will annoy you on the night. Can your phone double up as a camera? Do you really need four different kinds of snack?
  • Don't forget to charge your camera.
  • Make sure the fridge is well-stocked with something delicious for when you eventually recover from the ordeal on Sunday afternoon.
Tent

On the big day

  • Have a very very quiet day. Try to sleep in as late as you can and/or have an afternoon nap – you're going to be awake all bloody night.
  • Put lovely clean sheets on your bed so you'll have something nice to collapse into tomorrow.
  • Put your nicest bubble bath and fluffiest towel right next to the bath tub because you won't have any energy to go hunting for them when you get home!
  • Don’t arrive too early – sure the atmosphere is great but if you're too early you're just sitting around on the ground in a very crowded area getting cramped and grumpy. If I had my time again I'd have rocked up at 10PM and chilled out more at home!
  • Enjoy the official Moonwalk flapjack; it's dead tasty. Dunno about that pasta they give you, though.

During the Moonwalk

  • It will be painfully slow and crowded at first and you'll probably not be able to walk at your usual pace. Don't panic and don't waste energy weaving in and out of the crowds. Once it thins out a bit you can get into a more regular pace.
  • Stay hydrated – small regular sips. It's easy to forget to drink once you start trudging along
  • Don't drink anything you wouldn't normally drink – like if you only drank water during your training don't suddenly start on the energy drinks, your stomach will rebel!
  • If you need a quick pee look out for some discreet trees. We know they tell you not too but you'd be walking til Tuesday if you waited in the port-a-loo queues.
  • Do some stretches during your loo breaks
  • Try to enlist a Support Vehicle – kind friends or family to pop up at various points on the night to give you a snack and/or words of encouragement! They can also carry more water so you don't have to. Particularly great at the halfway mark and then again at around mile 18. Just when I wanted to throw myself into the Forth River our friends appeared with this amazing platter and really boosted our morale.
Silverservice_2

Afterward

  • Even if you're too shattered to feel any sort of joy for finishing, be sure to take lots of photos so you can admire your achivement in retrospect.
  • Don't park too far away from the finish line! You are going to be KNACKERED like you've never known knackered before.
  • Have a pair of slippers ready in the car to ease your tortured tootsies into for the journey home
  • Have something nice for brekkie when you have finished
Whinge1   Whinge2

Check out all the Moonwalk training posts and reports from the big night in the Moonwalk category archive.

GOOD LUCK to any Moonwalkers out there!

Salad Days

Less than four weeks ago these little green whippernsnappers were floppy and uninspired. And planted really crookedly by some flaming amateur.

Start

Despite their snug quarters and my long history of killing plants, they're actually doing pretty well now!

Progress 

Check-me-out

So are the herbs, despite repeated attacks.

Snack

The rocket plants were reduced to shreds by the same boofheaded creature but after a week in the greenhouse ICU, they were back from the brink!

Rocket

NB: Rocket means arugula in the American language. Rocket is also a Scots word for a crazy person. Try it on your friends today, ya mad rockets!

The greenhouse also features a random pile o bubble wrap and this stunning portrait of Urquhart Castle.

Art

This flower has nothing to do with our efforts, it just appeared on Friday. It's a biggun. Does anyone know what it is?

Flower

Today I finally chopped down some salad. That is once I'd removed the stray feathers and dodged the leaves anointed with pheasant crap. But there was plenty of goodness left. Oh YEAH… it was tasty! And the rocket was the most peppery and delicious I'd ever eaten. Much better than paying 99p for a withered bag of supermarket stuff. I go through about three bags of various salad leaves a week so this is GREEN GOLD, baby!

Salad

Success Story Spotlight on Cathe.com

Cathe I'm a guest writer today over at Cathe.com, the website of the Queen of Home Fitness, Cathe Friedrich.

Cathe has been in the home fitness market since 1988. The legwarmers and leotard era is long gone but Cathe continues to be a great innovator. Tomorrow her team is launching the revamped Cathe Nation website, a community site with forums, success stories and the amazing (and free!) Workout Manager.

I've long been a devoted fan of her DVDs and not just because it means you don't need to leave the house to do a seriously kickarse workout.

» Read all about how Cathe helped my weight loss efforts at Cathe.com

Image from Cathe.com

Happy Snaps

I was thinking about happiness after rediscovering a ranty pants entry from 2006:

For me happiness is sifting through the shitty bits of life and looking for the good things to latch onto. And always making sure you have something to look forward to, whether that's a weekly choccie bar, an episode of The Avengers or an island holiday. Anything will do…

… I have to work as hard at staying happy as I do at getting to the gym or making sure my guts don't explode out of my trousers. It's a habit that I had to learn. You just have to work on it, every single day.

The only thing more annoying than a smug, happy person is when the smug, happy person is yourself.

Begrudgingly I must agree with Me of 2006. My brain finds it hard to hold on to optimism and cheeriness unless I consciously work at 'em.

My personal formula for happiness:

  1. Making time for small, everyday feelgood stuff (e.g.: kickboxing, recent gardening addiction)
  2. Having an overall bigass goal to sink my teeth into. A purpose!

Without the above I get all reclusive and maudlin. I used to blame this tendency on my weight, but now I know that I can be happy or miserable at any size!

While I was back in Oz in April, I found some old photos from 2001 – the first year of lardbusting. I was amazed at how cheery I looked. But I remembered the moments the pics were taken and realised why I felt so bloody brilliant back then and why I hadn't been feeling so good these past few months. Back then I was living the formula, baby… big goals; simple pleasures.

NB: The captions on these pics say 2000 but it should be 2001. I can't find the originals now, d'oh!

In this pic I was dead pleased with myself as I was down 40 pounds and for the first time in years I'd managed to keep up with my friends on a walk to this park. All the leaves were broon and Harry the Dog was being his usual demented self.

April2000

I think I was another ten pounds down here and taking a progress photo. The dopey grin was coz I fitted into a new size 24 jumper. I was pretty freakin' determined.


June2000

And six months later, this is when I got my hair chopped off and felt rather foxy. I'd also been swimming and went to a pub, tackling two big fat girl fears. I'd finally realised that I didn't have to let my weight hold me back. That was a gobsmacking revelation. I was pretty much delirious back then!

December2000

It's now actually a month since I started this entry and I can't really remember why I started it and now it's nearly midnight (curfew fail!). Sorry this is not much of a weight loss blog in the traditional sense these days; it's more about happiness gain. I'm latching on to the good things and trying to savour them right as they're happening. Yeehah.